An adventure awaits when you walk into Universal Orlando. With three sprawling theme parks, including one new water park, and a shopping and dining district, there’s so much to do that you may struggle just to get it all done in one day. If you are looking to make the most of your time at Universal – whether it be in one day or multiple days – here is everything you need to know before arriving at the parks.
Buying a ticket to a theme park can really make it feel like your vacation is quickly approaching. With Universal Orlando, you can buy tickets online before heading to Florida, or you can buy them at the front gate of either Universal Studios Florida or Universal’s Islands of Adventure. If you’re planning on doing both sides of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you are going to need a ticket that includes park hopping access to both parks. The Park-To-Park tickets with access to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure start at $US170 per ticket per day. Although, if you are staying for multiple days, you’re going to want to check out the packages available.
Just like tickets into the park,Universal Express Passes come in many forms. To get the most out of your vacation you’re probably going to want to look into either the Two-Park Universal Express Unlimited Pass, the Universal Express Unlimited Pass to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, or the Universal Express Unlimited Pass to Universal Studios. While each of these passes will allow you to bypass the regular lines an unlimited amount of times, they all apply to different locations.
The Two-Park Universal Express Unlimited Pass is good for both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, so if you really want to do it all this may be the pass for you. Express unlimited passes start at $US90 but are worth the splurge if you only have a limited amount of time to spend at the parks.
All parking for Universal Orlando is in a parking garage unless you are staying at an on-site hotel. In the morning, parking can take quite a while so you’re going to want to plan accordingly if you’re hoping to be at the gates for park opening.
There are so many quality restaurants throughout Universal Orlando that it can be a little overwhelming. When choosing where you to dine, consider whether you want to dedicate a large amount of time to eating or if you would prefer to cram in extra shows and attractions.
If you’re looking for a table service meal, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savoury Feast Kitchen at Universal’s CityWalk is excellent for families or adults wanting something a little different. This Steampunk-inspired restaurant has towering smokestacks and an enchanting interior. If you love brunch, they serve it all day, every day. Crepes and quiche are among the brunch menu highlights. You’re definitely going to want to stick around for dessert as the pastry team at Toothsome has a large menu filled with chocolate ranging from milkshakes to sundaes If you’re feeling bold, try some of the most unique flavours like bacon brittle, and salted caramel flan.
For something a little quicker, be sure to head over to the Leaky Cauldron. You’ll find this quick dining spot in Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the Universal Studios side. Fans of the books and films will recognise this British pub and inn from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” At the Leaky Cauldron, guests will order like any other quick-service restaurant with a cashier host or hostess, then they will be given a number and taken to a table where servers will bring your food to you. Guests can indulge in classic pub food like bangers and mash, fish and chips, and fisherman’s pie. Be sure to grab a Butterbeer to go with your meal.
Snacks are a must-have to keep you going all day. There are plenty of sweet treats to be found in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including unique ice cream flavours like butterbeer, earl grey and lavender, and sticky toffee pudding at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour.Before you leave Universal Orlando, you’re going to want to stop at Voodoo Doughnut located in CityWalk. These over the top doughnuts are huge and easy to share, but you probably won’t want to. Sometimes there can be a queue to get into the store, but don’t let that scare you, the wait is worth it. If you like sweet and savoury treats you’re going to want to try the bacon maple bar.
Attractions: Universal Studios Florida
There are a ton of rides and attractions at Universal Studios, but there are some you absolutely cannot miss.
Put your agent training to the ultimate test when you take a ride on “Men In Black Alien Attack.” If you’re the competitive type, then this ride is definitely for you. Go head-to-head with the other members in your vehicle and see who can rack up the most points. This attraction might be frightening to young children, so just be sure your kiddos are good with loud noises and scary creatures.
One of the most iconic films of our generation is “E.T.,” who happens to have his own ride at Universal Studios. On this attraction, you’ll fly high on a bike making sure E.T. gets back to his home planet. This attraction is perfect for the whole family.
The last attraction you must visit while at Universal Studios is “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.” The queue space for this attraction is so detailed, die-hard Jimmy Fallon fans will feel like they’re getting ready to step into an episode of “The Tonight Show.” However, if you are sensitive to motion simulators, you might want to sit this one out.
Attractions: Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is where you will find a majority of the roller coasters and thrill rides. “The Incredible Hulk Coaster” is a fast launching coaster with all kinds of twists and turns. You can’t miss it, as it’s one of the first rides you see when you enter the park.
Travel high above Suess Landing on “The High in the Sky Suess Trolley Train Ride.” This attraction is great for the whole family and is a fun way to see Islands of Adventure from above.
One of the newest attractions at Islands of Adventure is “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.” This attraction combines physical sets and screens for an adventure around the jungle, where you will encounter animals of all shapes and sizes. This attraction might not be suitable for kids, or people who get motion sick.
Attractions: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
When you walk into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter you are completely immersed in the story of our favourite boy wizard. There are three attractions you must visit while exploring this area. The first is Harry Potter and the “Escape From Gringotts,” an immersive roller coaster complete with all of your favourite characters. This attraction is great for all ages, though there are some scary scenes kids might not like.
Be sure to grab a train ticket to board The Hogwarts Express, where you can travel between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. On the train ride, you’ll see Hogwarts off in the distance, Hagrid on his motorbike, and a few other friends. This attraction is great for everyone in the family.
The last attraction you’re going to want to experience at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” where you’ll walk through Hogwarts before you board the ride car to be taken on an adventure over the castle grounds. You’ll encounter some magical creatures, and maybe even your biggest fears. This attraction does have scary scenes kids might not enjoy, along with people who have a sensitivity to motion sickness.